London: Printed by W. Bowyer, for the Editor, MDCCXXVII . First Edition thus. Full Calf. First edition of the third English version of Castiglione's classic treatise on etiquette, the most celebrated instruction manual on the courtly manners of the Italian High Renaissance. 4to: ,480,473-508pp [470, 471 misnumbered 471, 470 respectively; 473-79 repeated but text continuous and complete], with fine copper-engraved frontispiece by Vertue after the portrait by Raphael and parallel texts in Italian and English. Contemporary calf, spine in six compartments very richly gilt between raised bands, red morocco lettering piece gilt, covers framed with French fillets, edges speckled red. A superb copy, internally fine, the binding tight and secure, very expertly rebacked. Lowndes 386. ("emphatically termed by the Italians the 'golden book'.") ESTC N956 ("In this issue [of two], ’To the reader’ is on the verso of the last page of ’To the king’, and there is a list of subscribers.") Bowyer ledgers 1296 (showing "printing on three sizes of paper: 970 copies on demy, 24 on royal, 7 on writing royal"). PMM 59 (Venice, 1528). Fine. Item #BB1278
First printed in Venice by Aldus, in 1528, and reprinted innumerable times since in every major European language. The earliest version in English, that of Sir Thomas Hoby, appeared in 1561; the second, by Robert Samber, in 1724. Castiglione’s Il libro del cortegiano (The Book of the Courtier) "is a classic of Western literature: a conduct book describing the ideal courtier of the Renaissance (and to some degree the ideal court lady too); it is also a highly polished literary dialogue rich in classical lore and representative of the avant-garde culture of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Italy. Responsible for transmitting fundamental cultural ideas abroad, among them the notion of the all-rounded, or ‘Renaissance’, man or woman, the stress on grace and elegance as part of the striving for perfection, and the details of the Neoplatonic love-theory then in vogue; it is also credited with having given rise in France to the concept of the gentilhomme and in England to that of the gentleman. . . . Interwoven into the fabric of the text is a wide spectrum of topics ranging from a theory of humor to an ethically grounded view of politics. . . . Truly encyclopedic in scope, The Book of the Courtier has been hailed as a veritable compendium of Renaissance culture." (Literary Encyclopedia) N. B. With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition. All orders are packaged with care and posted promptly. Satisfaction guaranteed.